SEATAC services: From land to sea  

Helping companies design, build, deploy and test technologies.  

Linked to Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), SEATAC is advancing ocean innovation by bringing various research services together to support the blue economy.  

This summer, we worked with Aquaband-Marecomms to build parts for their ROAM, an underwater acoustic broadband communications system. While underwater communication has long been available using sonar, the data throughput is exceptionally low and limited to voice or simple on and off commands. Aquaband-Marecomms’s unique system improves upon high-throughput transmissions up to 1,000 times the data rate of current systems and makes for seamless communication between multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and the land station simultaneously. 

SEATAC Project Coordinator, Neil Laamanen, is a mechanical engineer and leads all design and build projects. From his workshop in the Design and Innovation Centre at Ivany Campus Neil explains how SEATAC 3D printed an affordable customized part for Marecomms: 

“It’s paramount we understand what the client really needs from us. It’s rarely a single task that can be reduced to a static blueprint. We made use of our Polymer 3D printing machine to fabricate a low-cost equipment-mounting shelf to go inside a waterproof enclosure. From there we provided minor machining for mounting bulkhead connectors with hardware and general rigging. This was all so the ROAM had the capability to be dipped over the side of the vessel.”  

The next step of this project was to get out on the water to deploy and test Aquaband-Marecomms’ ROAM. Leaving from SEATAC’s main office at the Centre for Ocean Venture and Entrepreneurship (COVE), on a Zodiac, our crew provided the small vessel and hands-on support Aquaband-Marecomms needed to test the capabilities of their technology. 

Nestled between George’s Island and Halifax’s Pier 21, the local blue-tech company’s ROAM was deployed from the Zodiac to take photos, which were then transmitted in real time under the water by ROAM transmit unit to the shore, where the ROAM receiver unit displayed received and restored images to the demo participants. 

SEATAC Research Associate, Jaclyn Inkpen, is an ocean specialist who’s familiar with our broad range of equipment and their uses: 

“Our team comes in where you need us. Not all companies have a need to own a vessel and scientific equipment or a manufacturing shop, but they do have a need for on-water testing.” 

At SEATAC, we are positioned to round out small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through applied research and development services, business and technical support and customized training. If you are an SME in oceans technology looking to scale-up manufacturing, develop a prototype or require on-water testing start exploring ocean solutions with SEATAC.